When I was contributing to the 2008 Definition of Zero Carbon Homes Consultation while working at DCLG, 2016 seemed like it was a long way away. Would housing really be that different? 2016 was supposed to be the year that it all happened. Perhaps unsurprisingl
With 2016 looking set to be the warmest in history, it isn’t that we have solved climate change or that carbon from new homes is no longer an issue. With nearly 25% of new homes failing to EPC band A or B, it most certainly is a problem. But it’s not all bad, London at least still continues to be a global leader, going ahead with the introduction of its own Zero Carbon Homes standard. This is progress, but due to the way the system works, it is unlikely from a householder perspective that their home will actually be Zero Carbon.
The ratification of the Paris Climate agreement, by China, the US and latterly by other nations (including the UK) did really help to brighten the year up – how it will be realised is the key. But maybe the “red white and blue Brexit” needs to be held together with some green thread. [pullquote]But maybe the “red white and blue Brexit” needs to be held together with some green thread.[/pullquote]
The debate continues, and with the election of Donald Trump to be US President next year, it is likely to continue…with vigour.
Talking of surprises… the polls got it wrong, not just once but twice!
In its first year, Home Quality Mark really started to gain traction with 4000 homes registered by the end of the summer rising to 11000 by the end of the year. With over 140 assessors trained by the BRE Academy the knowledge is certainly getting out there. We have had some great PR, along with surveys of the general public and shows such as Grand Designs which have really got the message out. In parallel with raising the profile to the general public, we have had great events such as EcoBuild Build4Quality and Inside Government events and many more. The tools that help to assess the homes have continued to improve (more work on this next year). Oh and we even won a Green Apple award.
Maybe it was me, but 2016 was busy (especially being a new dad!) with great progress made, it was surprising in politics, and sad with the passing of so many great musicians, but perhaps much of the time it was difficult to tell if a news article was a Daily Mash or a Guardian one.